And more than halfway through camp, Shaw has made the most of his small window of opportunity.
Since his Week 17 start against the Baltimore Ravens, the Browns have seen substantial improvement from their second-year quarterback. Shaw’s arm strength has gotten noticeably better, particularly his velocity on throws 15-25 yards down the field.
“That’s something from a mechanics standpoint I know (quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell) has been working hard with him,” coach Mike Pettine said. “When your feet are right, you can generate a lot more force on the ball and drive it. Anytime you’re throwing outside the numbers, you really have to drive the football and that’s been a point of emphasis with Connor.”
Shaw’s improved arm was put to test Friday at the Orange and Browns scrimmage. On his first drive, the 23-year-old connected with rookie wide receiver Vince Mayle for a gain of close to 30 yards. A couple of plays later, Shaw pushed his group into the end zone against a stingy Browns second-team defense.
“It was good to get out there and kind of play fast and be sharp” Shaw said after Sunday’s practice. “There’s definitely some things I can learn from, but I thought I did a solid job.”
Most NFL teams generally carry two quarterbacks into the regular season, but Shaw is gunning for a permanent spot on the 53-man roster. He feels more comfortable with the little things, such as terminology, knowing how to adjust offensive line protections and diagramming plays on the whiteboard, the story said. Shaw has Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown ahead of him though, and while McCown will likely start, Manziel is a first round pick the team probably doesn't want to cut bait with yet.